PITTSBURGH – Gatesman agency is poised to start its next wave of meaningful progress and evolution, and today the company announced a series of organizational shifts that include expanded centers of excellence, offerings and new leadership appointments to usher in the next era of growth for its integrated Hacking Human Behavior™ (HHB) model, which drives meaningful marketplace solutions with the consumer in the driver’s seat. These evolutions, coupled with an emphasis on growing talent, are the center points of the agency’s vision for the future – for its teams to leave a lasting legacy where creativity and curiosity are rewarded and the smartest ideas win.
The agency’s trademarked HHB approach was a strategic move that thrust the agency into the limelight in 2017. Since then, the agency has transformed from one of Pittsburgh’s top advertising agencies – known early on for its work with Pittsburgh skyline brands including UPMC, Duquesne Light Company (DLC), S&T Bank, CONSOL, SHOP ‘n SAVE and PPG – into a national marketing communications contender having expanded visibility with a second office location in Chicago, new category expertise with top-tier clients in higher education, transportation, home and building, as well as new capabilities in marketing intelligence which provides a full suite of services in measurement and dashboarding, data strategy and implementation, analysis and optimization, and predictive analytics. The culmination of these efforts led to more than a dozen competitive national review wins over the past 20 months.
“Our HHB model is what guides us, and that’s why we know people better than anyone else – with consumer intelligence at the heart of everything we do, we help brands win, keep and grow customers,” said John Gatesman, CEO. “2020 was impossible to predict, and it disrupted our momentum. We were not exempt from business impact but having spent the years prior strengthening our team, diversifying our portfolio, expanding into new client industries, and optimizing our capabilities to better match present-day and future demands, this work enabled us to get through the year and come out with renewed focus for 2021 and beyond.”
That renewed focus includes rebranding its long-recognized media department into performance media. The new center of excellence reflects the reality of the digital revolution for advertisers and demonstrates the shift beyond traditional media and vanity metrics into more traceable, trackable, demonstrated impact. Mackenzie “Mack” Leahy has been promoted to lead the team as VP, director of performance media. Mack was recruited by SVP, director of media Kathy Oldaker in 2019 and drove lead generation, acquisition and paid search strategies as associate media director for some of the agency’s largest digital media clients.
The agency’s public relations and social media practice, which has been recognized as the only nationally-ranked Top 100 independent PR firm by O’Dwyer’s in the region, has also been building out more robust strategic communications offerings. Recognizing market demand even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gatesman began building out subscription services like its Trend Hacker Live to keep clients current with news media, cultural and social trends, as well as more robust offerings to meet market demands in areas of foundational messaging including vision, mission and values development, employee value propositions and message architectures. Susan English will shift from her current role as director of PR and social media to bring expanded messaging offerings such as these to a newly created role as SVP, director of strategic communications. In this role Susan will remain connected to PR; however, she will also expand her counsel to strengthen the application of the agency’s HHB model and apply integrated connections strategies across the agency’s clients. Top-flight agency veteran, Beth Thompson has been promoted to VP, director of PR and social media and will focus her leadership on building upon a foundation of excellence while pushing the team forward within contemporary PR and social media programming.
And finally, Christy Kelly has been promoted to SVP, director of account management. Christy previously held the position of SVP, Director of Chicago Accounts and was responsible for leading the higher education and health care practices. In her new role, Christy will expand her leadership and accountability across the entire account management team to ensure client satisfaction, business performance and team development. The role will ensure consistency and adherence to the highest standards of excellence while also playing an integral role in challenging teams and clients to push for courageous creative.
“More than 75 percent of our work is in integrated solutions and this is the center point of our vision, with particular focus on the strongest growing sectors, consumer and market intelligence, digital solutions, and strategic communications,” said Shannon Baker, president at Gatesman. “These shifts came organically from market demand, and they enable solutions that are ideas led, data driven and creatively super-charged, which ultimately delivers competitive advantage, further growth and strong ROI for our clients.”
Gatesman is also acutely focused on its people with several strategies in place to retain and recruit the best, brightest and most diverse talent. The agency made a big push in Q1 to elevate its creative talent and hired and promoted three at the turn of the year including agency veteran Shuhuei Lee, and rising stars Brandon Wolff and Madi Shrout. The creative team continues to actively recruit several new positions in Q2.
“It’s critical to evolve, and most importantly build a creative team with an eye-towards digital and social evolutions,” said Gatesman. “We have always embraced change and if you don’t evolve, you die in this business. Augmenting our existing skillsets, always pushing for what’s next, and looking for talent who want to win for our clients have been at the core of our success, and will continue to be the direction we drive towards our future.”
In addition, the agency is proud to announce the team’s demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in its hiring practices to diversify its talent and promote career growth and education across staff with several formalized development programs. Efforts include:
- Gatesman’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Caucus. A forum dedicated to listening, learning and taking action. With the support of executive leadership, the Caucus enforces anti-racism practices and works directly with the team to maintain an equitable and inclusive environment where diversity is accepted, appreciated and welcomed.
- Connected Leadership Training. The agency’s focus is on getting the best out of talent, not the most. Connected leadership training focuses on fostering stronger, more authentic leadership for directors, managers, supervisors and their teams to ensure employee engagement, satisfaction and mental health support.
- Emerging Leaders Team. A dedicated junior management team that is nominated and selected due to their individual contributions and relevance to account, team or business success. This group is groomed by directors and executives to ensure development, exposure and business acumen training as the next generation of agency leaders.
- Formal Mentorship Programming. Gatesman’s Mentorship program was created by the Emerging Leaders in response to staff looking for ways to grow, learn from others and expand their skill sets. The elective offering pairs mentees with a mentor based on shared interests and goals.
- Flexible and Remote Work Environments. Parents. Caretakers. Not-so-eager-commuters. We get it, and we know that flexibility can go a long way to boost happiness and productivity. We see it as a win-win which is why we offer flexibility. This past year enabled the agency to evolve its work policy in offering enhanced flexibility for work from home, flex schedules and the continued benefit of unlimited PTO for all staff.
“From the beginning, I’ve always believed in making our people the No. 1 priority. We hire the best, we win. It’s that simple. But that also means we are a team first and foremost, and that mentality influences everything that we do. This also translates into having the ability to put the team before yourself and operate fluidly with other departments as one unit, one agency united in the best interest of our clients,” said Gatesman.
It’s an exciting time to be at Gatesman. To check out open positions, please visit https://gatesman.breezy.hr. For additional information, please visit gatesmanagency.com or join in on the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.
With offices in Pittsburgh and Chicago, Gatesman offers expertise in strategy/branding, advertising, public relations, social media, digital and analytics. Gatesman is a partner in AMIN Worldwide, an alliance of over 50 independent marketing agencies, and IPREX, a global communications network. Gatesman acquired Quest Fore in 2014 and Noble Communications in 2017.